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Paradox Interactive announced today that Life by You from their studio Paradox Tectonic is now fully cancelled, after previously being delayed. Tectonic is led by former Executive Vice President of EA Play and Head of The Sims label Rod Humble.

A once promising sounding take on The Sims, it seems it just wasn't going to be good enough and so rather than push out another failure, they're canning it completely.

From the press release:

"For a long time, we’ve held hopes for Life by You and the potential we saw in it, but it is now clear that the game will not be able to meet our expectations. A version that we’d be satisfied with is too far away, and therefore we are taking the difficult decision to cancel the release. Moving forward, we should perform at a much higher level, and it’s obvious that we have work ahead of us," said Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive.

"We’ve performed poorly in recent releases," continued Wester. "Even though we now start new projects in a different manner, it is clear that we must make further changes so that quality is more consistent and the promises we make to our players are met. We have to evaluate how we manage projects and how we organize, for we will and must get better. We have a very solid financial position and a strong core game portfolio, which keeps us confident about our future."

Pictured: Life By You, shots taken from the Steam page

An expanded announcement was posted on the official Paradox Forum from Mattias Lilja, Deputy CEO of Paradox Interactive, which for the most part was a slightly wordier version of the above, but ended on this note:

"At the end of the day, our job is to release games that are fun, interesting, and challenging for our players, and our every decision should be taken with that purpose in mind. When we get that right, we earn our pay. So, how do we ensure we don’t find ourselves here again? Honestly, there are no real guarantees. Games are difficult to get right, and we’ll definitely make mistakes, which, as these things go, always become painfully apparent in hindsight, but still shouldn’t reach this kind of magnitude regardless. We have to take a long and hard look at what led us here and see what changes we have to make to become better. In the end, our mission remains the same, and we’ll continue to take whatever steps we need to do just that."

The press release notes that this will "negatively" impact their second quarter by "MSEK 208" (nearly 20 million USD).

Paradox aren't exactly doing too great lately, as Wester noted above. Looking at games they've published there's Millennia that released in March, which has a Mixed review score on Steam and the player counts dropped like a rock since release. Then there's Star Trek: Infinite, a fancy re-skin of Stellaris, which they abruptly stopped all updates for last year and now has a Very Negative recent review score. At least FOUNDRY that just released in May seems to be doing okay so far though.

Update 18/06/24 9:00 AM UTC - Paradox Interactive sent out a PR this morning to note that Paradox Tectonic are being shut down: "This is difficult and drastic news for our colleagues at Tectonic, who’ve worked hard on Life by You’s Early Access release. Sadly, with cancellation of their sole project we have to take the tough decision to close down the studio. We are deeply grateful for their hard work in trying to take Paradox into a new genre," says Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive.

Tectonic employed 24 people.

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Trinexx Jun 18
Quoting: ssj17vegetaAnother sad example about how going public never bodes well for companies and their products.

Paradox went public eight years ago.
I've never played any Sims games, but I was keeping half an eye on this to see how it came out, so it's a bit sad to hear it's canceled. I know screenshots and a trailer do not a full-featured game make, but it seemed from the ones they had that there was a decent-looking product, so it must've been pretty bad behind the scenes if they didn't think it was worth continuing.
eldaking Jun 18
Quoting: Trinexx
Quoting: ssj17vegetaAnother sad example about how going public never bodes well for companies and their products.

Paradox went public eight years ago.

That is about the timeline for the shit to hit the fan (visibly to us, at least). Between EA buying BioWare and Anthem, it was 10 years, for example. The Paradox IPO was in 2016, Paradox Tectonic was founded in 2019, 5 years is the development cycle for a game like this - it should be finished, but it was delayed before being killed.

The first years after going public/being bought out, everything is still working as usual, finishing stuff they already were doing or had planned to do. The cash injection is still live and most of the "restructuring" is yet to come: we got Battletech (amazing game), Surviving Mars, Age of Wonders Planetfall. Probably CK3 was developed during this early stage, as it came out in 2020.

Then Imperator underperformed in 2019 (unrelated to the IPO, I'd say), they get some controversies, Bloodlines 2 development started to have problems, and they started restructuring the company, moving people to different studios, re-evaluating their strategies. In 2021 the CEO leaves (over "strategic differences"), which is a really bad sign.

And then, after a couple of investment cycles the investors are expecting the payoff for their investment made 5 to 8 years earlier. And we get failures like Lamplighter's League and Life By You, which get the typical AAA treatment: mass layoffs, aggressive cost-cutting. We also get games like Cities 2, that aren't commercial failures but that have the usual problems associated with AAA development (buggy release, too much attention to graphics). I'd expect in the next couple of years we will see some other drastic changes, then it will probably settle into the role of AAA.
Obviously they bit off more than they can chew. I guess it was going to be another train wreck like Cities:Skylines 2, maybe worse.

And like Cities:Skylines 2, Linux support wasn't planned so I wasn't going to buy it, even though I was interested.
14 Jun 24
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I was hoping for a nice alternative to The Sims.

You know, those cited games that aren't doing great are more or less copycat games. All games borrow elements from each other, but there should be a number of unique aspects. When I look at Millennia, I think that Old World looks more attractive for example.

Age of Wonders 4, though, now that looks pretty nice.
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